Voqal is a collective of five nonprofit organizations that makes grants to promote progressive causes and social equity. They merged in 2013 to form Voqal but began in the mid-1980s by broadcasting educational video programs to schools using frequencies regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Voqal offers support in the form of fellowships and grants to individuals and organizations that promote technology and media to serve the public good. They work to preserve and develop the EBS and provide low-cost broadband access to nonprofits, schools, and community service organizations through their Mobile Citizen Initiative and their 30-year partnership with CLEAR (now part of Sprint).
John Schwartz, Voqal’s president and founder, says, “As a national collaboration of EBS licensees, Voqal’s membership in NEBSA is crucial. NEBSA provides a forum to exchange information and ideas with leading advocates in the field of EBS, and to further augment our ability to provide service via our EBS systems.” Schwartz is a longtime NEBSA board member who is currently serving as Vice Chair of NEBSA’s Executive Committee and has been involved in public radio and television broadcasting, educational technology, and media advocacy for 40 years.
The Voqal Fund accepts grant applications by invitation, and occasionally its board will solicit proposals or fellowship nominations and applications based on the recommendations of grant-maker networks, researchers, or experts in an array of issues of interest to the fund. Voqal has funded a diverse group of organizations that promote equity, social justice, and progressive political causes across the nation, including the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, Presente, Color of Change, Coworker.org, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), One Colorado, Hollaback, the Oregon Progressive Fund, Pillsbury United Communities, and Common Cause.